Jeep Wrangler Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of JUNE's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I spent this weekend changing all of my dash LEDs for my 2012 JKU Sport to red and I am super happy with the results.


Now here's the problem... my gauge cluster is completely screwed. I took time and taped paper on the gauges and marked the proper location of the needles before removing them and when I put it back, I made sure to put it exactly where it was before. However, when I turn on my car every gauge except the speedometer doesn't function normally. Not only are they not where they should be (like full gas shows up a good 90° past full) they kind of lag and don't move smoothly. If i turn the car on and off, the gauges don't always return to their original positions. I can't seem to figure it out.

I went and filled up a full tank, took the gas needle out, turned the car on and waited a few minutes until the gauge would have shown "full" and then plugged the needle in at full. Turn it off, it started working its way back to empty when it kind of just got stuck at around 3/4. Next time I turn it on, it's way past F. I did this a bunch of times trying to fix it but no luck. This is true for the RPM and temp gauge as well. The speed is the only somewhat smooth one but it's offset a bit because of my misplacement.

Anyone had this issue before after reassembling their gauge clusters? I have no idea on how to fix this and haven't been able to find any help online. Any suggestions or insight would be much appreciated. Last thing I want to do is buy a new cluster and even then, I think I'd have this same problem putting it back together.

Thanks guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
Any chance you damaged the indicator movements when you pulled the needles? A long time ago, I actually assembled and balanced instrument movements for aircraft and I have seen similar errors due to damaged movements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,414 Posts
Now here's the problem... my gauge cluster is completely screwed. I took time and taped paper on the gauges and marked the proper location of the needles before removing them and when I put it back, I made sure to put it exactly where it was before. However, when I turn on my car every gauge except the speedometer doesn't function normally. Not only are they not where they should be (like full gas shows up a good 90° past full) they kind of lag and don't move smoothly. If i turn the car on and off, the gauges don't always return to their original positions. I can't seem to figure it out.
I have to wonder if the needle shafts rotated during your work. You might have reinstalled the needles into the same places relative to the gauge faces, but their shafts rotated a bit, you didn't put them back onto their shafts in the same place.

You might need to remove the needles, and reinstall them while the cluster is active (turned 'on'). For example, with your gas tank actually full, reinstall the gas gauge needle with it now pointing to "F".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,738 Posts
Xxxxxxxxxxxx22222222222222

Any chance you damaged the indicator movements when you pulled the needles? A long time ago, I actually assembled and balanced instrument movements for aircraft and I have seen similar errors due to damaged movements.
Instrument assembly/dis-assembly is NOT for the amateur. Load bearing surfaces are very susceptible to damage as are the actuation elements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Actually have the same problem on my 2012, disassembled the gauges carefully, then put everything back the way it was, and then the rpm gauge doesn't move as fluidly as it used to and the gas gauge is only showing half when full and goes way past E when turning off. Im not sure what or how it happened.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Actually have the same problem on my 2012, disassembled the gauges carefully, then put everything back the way it was, and then the rpm gauge doesn't move as fluidly as it used to and the gas gauge is only showing half when full and goes way past E when turning off. Im not sure what or how it happened.
I was as careful as I could have been too but that didn't seem to help. I managed to take all the gauges out and put them back and got the fuel, speed, RPM (mostly... off by about 150-250 RPM) back. The temp gauge was working fine when I had everything not fully assembled. I put the cover on carefully, bolted everything back and next time I turned on my car the temp gauge started off at half way and hit hot as the center point. So it's basically 1/2 way off, but oh well. They don't run smooth but do show more or less the correct values. My biggest concern was the speed and RPM, I can live without the fuel and as long as the temp gauge shows when it's overheating by pointing to a direction it doesn't usually point, I guess I'm fine.

The only thing I changed this second time around was I didn't press in the pins all the way. I left a 5mm or so gap. This may have helped, though it might just be dumb luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
387 Posts
Meh - bad luck. only easy thing I can think of:

1. Pull all the needles off.
2. drive around the block.
3. shut down the Jeep
4. Pull the cluster out and re-install all the needles at Zero - wont work for fuel obviously.

ON my old BMW there was only one position that was accepted for the needles - there was a notch to make sure they were seated in the right position - are you sure you seated them correctly?

Only other thing I can think of is electronic - some solder made it to the wrong spot - but I doubt it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,142 Posts
Not sure what to do right now - can you explain how you swapped out the lights? I have been looking at doing it but I didn't think the needles needed to be removed to access the "bulb"- isn't it just on the back of the cluster?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Instrument assembly/dis-assembly is NOT for the amateur. Load bearing surfaces are very susceptible to damage as are the actuation elements.
Exactly, the bearing/bushings the clusters use can be damaged soooo easily, there is no easy fix but to replace the cluster.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,237 Posts
I fail to comprehend why someone would even do this? Looks like it is going to become quite a spendy upgrade to repair.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,069 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
I have 20+ years of experience as an electrical engineer, 5 years experience as an electronic assembler, and 10 years experience as an electronic technician and knowing what I know, I would never consider making this mod. There is far too much that can go wrong that cannot be corrected without complete replacement. A meter which does not move fluidly through its entire range is most likely damaged. If I were the OP, I would bite the bullet, admit that I was in over my head, and purchase a new (used) cluster and relegate the damaged one to the "oh well, I tried" pile. I have amassed quite a "oh well, I tried" pile myself over the years.

If dear reader, you are considering this mod, and you think the OP was just unlucky... think again. I would highly recommend you do not attempt any mod which requires instrument needles to be removed.

Joe

I fail to comprehend why someone would even do this? Looks like it is going to become quite a spendy upgrade to repair.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Fungun1 said:
I'm not a tech, but like others have said, these are supposedly extremely fragile and best sent off to the pros.
Call/email Fred
DrSpeedometer.com - Instrument Cluster Repair, Speedometer Repair and Tachometer Repair
He responds fast and is helpful. He did a gauge cluster for my old Yukon (GM notorious for dahs lights and stepper motor failure).

Note: I'm not affiliated in any way, just happy with the CS and the product.
According to his website, he doesn't work on Chrysler vehicles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,230 Posts
I have 20+ years of experience as an electrical engineer, 5 years experience as an electronic assembler, and 10 years experience as an electronic technician and knowing what I know, I would never consider making this mod. There is far too much that can go wrong that cannot be corrected without complete replacement. A meter which does not move fluidly through its entire range is most likely damaged. If I were the OP, I would bite the bullet, admit that I was in over my head, and purchase a new (used) cluster and relegate the damaged one to the "oh well, I tried" pile. I have amassed quite a "oh well, I tried" pile myself over the years.

If dear reader, you are considering this mod, and you think the OP was just unlucky... think again. I would highly recommend you do not attempt any mod which requires instrument needles to be removed.

Joe
That's sad... I was hoping I could do this as well, but after your post, I'm not touching it unless someone makes a kit that doesn't require messing with the actual dials.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So, semi good news guys! All the needles work more or less satisfactorily. My fuel gauge is dead on and so are my speedometer and tachometer. My temp gauge not so much, it sits at 5/8th instead of 1/2 when warm but oh well, I can deal. Every once in a while, the gauges (fuel and temp) freak out and don't move into their right positions and end up going off their marks (past full or past hot) but if I turn off the car and back on once or twice or leave it til morning, they reset and work again.

In all honesty, it seems that it's a difficult mod and the instrument panel is very finicky. If I could go back, I'd probably do this again just be 10x more careful and only open the thing up once. I ended up removing the gauges more than once not thinking much of it but oh well... lesson learned.

All other lights were relatively easy though. The only issue I have with the mod is that since it requires a filter to change the color to red, you lose some light intensity. This can be fixed at the dash LCDs by removing the tint (cutting it out). However, on the radio the tint is part of the front plastic cover and cannot be removed. It's a bit dim during the day and if there's direct sunlight, you can't see anything. At night though they look amazing! Overall I'm pretty happy about how it turned out.

Thanks everyone for your replies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,258 Posts
Not sure what to do right now - can you explain how you swapped out the lights? I have been looking at doing it but I didn't think the needles needed to be removed to access the "bulb"- isn't it just on the back of the cluster?
It's not the 1990s anymore. Basically everything is LEDs, and usually surface-mount LEDs. They're cheaper, smaller, consume less power. But a much bigger pain to replace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,142 Posts
^ Well, yes. I've had my cluster out already and looked at it. I was specifically asking why he had to take it apart to the degree the needles were taken off. From what I could see, it may be possible to remove the back where the LED COB were located and replace them that way. I simply couldn't remember if that was possible since it's been a few years since mine was out.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top